Sunday, February 17, 2013

the rose hotel

most of you who visit here know that i'm kinda big on the power of stories. stories have tremendous power. every commercial you watch on television is a mini-story and it's meant to convince you to buy something. every film you watch is a story. every poster on the subway, every magazine article...everything. when you think about how many stories you ingest each day, it's mind-boggling. and when you think about the dominant cultural narrative running through most stories in our world, you get a sense of why many of the issues we have are so deeply embedded. they are reinforced each and every day, from the moment we step out of our homes.

that is why this particular book, the rose hotel, by rahimeh andalibian, affected me so deeply. not only did it resonate for me on a very fundamental level, but it did something that every book i've ever cherished and held close has done -- not to sound trite or anything, but it was healing.

the book is described by the author as a "true-life novel." it traces her family's journey from iran to britain to the u.s. it is a beautifully crafted account of how external events, politics, religion and power, and a raging revolution affect the very real lives of one family, and that family's subsequent exile from the only home they've ever known.

it's the kind of sensitive, aware account that only a trained psychotherapist could offer, which is exactly what dr. andalibian is. without preaching or falling into the trap of "telling not showing," andalibian explores how people heal from the unthinkable. how strength of spirit shines strong during the darkest moments of the soul. and it's absolutely beautiful.

i firmly believe there is power in sharing our own personal journeys of recovery from trauma and violence. it breaks silence and sends ripples into the atmosphere, changing the horribleness of abuse and oppression. sharing openly about things that hurt us is a powerful way to bridge distances and build connections. it shatters isolation and the divisions between us begin to crumble (which is actually what her next project is about, glass houses--watch the video on her website). what better way is there to slash through ignorance and fear? to end some of the shit we all know is fucked up out there?

this book is a gem. buy it. read it. give it to someone you love. then think about your own story and what you might do next to make some changes . . . maybe shatter some isolation.

Monday, February 11, 2013


i posted this to my fb page with the intro, "god bless musicians," in a moment of being so grateful to music-makers for providing a soundtrack for my life. for providing inspiration, hope, joy, healing, soothing, comfort, motivation, courage, balm, and so much more.

but here's meesha shafi from pakistan. so much beauty and talent in one place...should be illegal, maybe. her voice gives me goose bumps. wish she had an album (sorry for the blaring coke advertisement). enjoy!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Freedom Safety Now Action for Jyoti

here is a video from the sawcc action outside the indian consulate on jan. 26th of this year. the issue was the indian government's failure to adequately protect its women citizens from violence and rape. on dec. 16th, jyoti singh pandey was raped by five men on a moving bus in delhi. two weeks later, she died in hospital. citizens of delhi have, for years, been calling for stricter punishments for rape and better laws to protect women, with little to no response from the indian government.

the sawcc action this weekend was a movement piece choreographed by parijat desai to depict the resistance of women against acts of terror committed against us, on a global level, where our bodies are the sites upon which these acts are committed. i was honoured to be in the line of women performers (that's me in the white knit hat and red gloves, behind parijat). it was incredibly empowering and inspiring. there was drumming, dancing, chanting, and voices raised in unison... freedom. safety. now.